Shark ransomware is a newly detected cyber threat which falls into the category of RaaS (Ransomware as a Service), joining such cryptomalwares as Stampado and Payms ransomwares. This ransomware virus has been discovered by the cyber security researcher David Montegro in the July of 2016. Ransomwares belonging to the RaaS category are especially dangerous because they can be used by anyone who purchases them, even those who have no knowledge in the development of the codes of such malicious programs. Thus, the circle of the distributors of these malicious threats broadens to countless numbers of cyber criminals, as well as the users who are going to be victimized.
About Shark Ransomware
Surprisingly, Shark cryptomalware is hosted on a publicly accessible WordPress website contrasting sharply with other RaaSs, which are commonly hosted on the anonymous TOR network. The web page contains the ‘‘Download’’ button of a zip file named PayloadBundle.zip, which compresses the payload of the ransomware. The ZIP file encloses the builder – Payload Builder.exe, the ransom note – Readme.txt, and the executable – Shark.exe. The whole bouquet of probably the most malicious cyber threat – a ransomware.
Upon the purchasing of Shark encoder, the purchasers of this virus make a commitment to give 20% of the size of the ransom to the developers. Once this pest is in their pocket, the fresh from the oven cyber crooks can build a ransomware of their own. The configurations which can be customized include: the targeted file types and folders, the countries to be aimed at, the size of the ransom demanded for in each country, the e-mail addresses used for sending notifications about the setup of the virus and the language in which the ransom note is displayed (30 languages are available).
Shark ransomware is designed for appending ‘‘.locked’’ extension to the filename extensions of the encrypted files. The names of the corrupted files are stored in files.ini file which is, in turn, placed on the %UserProfile% directory (%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Settings\files.ini). An executable named ‘‘decrypter’’ is dropped in the same folder (%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Settings). When the process of encryption has come to an end, the decryptor notifies, ‘‘Data on this device were locked’’ and the user is presented with the ransom note.
On 28th of September, we detected a new infection, going by the same name of Shark ransomware. However, we do not think that this latter variant has anything to do with the older sample as they are completely different. The new version appends .SHARK extension, which explains its name. In addition to this, it is a normal ransomware, and not a RaaS. Despite the shared name, they have very little in common.
How is Shark Ransomware Distributed?
Shark file-encrypting virus can be spread via the worn paths of other ransomware trojans. The victims can receive suspicious spam e-mails masquerading as official letters from such institutions as customs, the representatives of law enforcement or from unknown entities. These spam e-mails typically contain infected links or attachments. Once the victim gets tangled in the web and clicks on the links or on the executable files attached, the payload of the ransomware is installed on the computer’s system and the malicious program starts running.
How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by Shark Ransomware?
Shark crypto malware is under thorough analysis at the present moment. Unfortunately, the community of cyber security researchers cannot offer any solutions for the victims affected by this malignant cyber threat yet. At this moment, the affected users can use their backup or Shadow Volume Copies. There is also an option to retrieve one’s data by applying data recovery software such as the products of Kaspersky Lab, R-Studio, PhotoRec or Recuva. However, the first action the user must undertake after having been infected with Shark virus is to image the damaged drive and, most importantly, to remove the malware. For the latter purpose, employ automatic malware removal software – Spyhunter – to effectively and permanently eliminate this virus. These security tools will protect your computer’s system in the future. The manual removal instructions for the deletion of Shark ransomware are provided below.
Shark Ransomware quicklinks
- About Shark Ransomware
- How is Shark Ransomware Distributed?
- How to Decrypt Files Encrypted by Shark Ransomware?
- Automatic Malware removal tools
- How to recover Shark Ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
- Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
- 1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
- 2.Restore System files and settings.
- Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Shark Ransomware encrypted files
Automatic Malware removal tools
How to recover Shark Ransomware encrypted files and remove the virus
Step 1. Restore system into last known good state using system restore
1. Reboot your computer to Safe Mode with Command Prompt:
for Windows 7 / Vista/ XP
- Start → Shutdown → Restart → OK.
- Press F8 key repeatedly until Advanced Boot Options window appears.
- Choose Safe Mode with Command Prompt.
for Windows 8 / 10
- Press Power at Windows login screen. Then press and hold Shift key and click Restart.
- Choose Troubleshoot → Advanced Options → Startup Settings and click Restart.
- When it loads, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the list of Startup Settings.
2.Restore System files and settings.
- When Command Prompt mode loads, enter cd restore and press Enter.
- Then enter rstrui.exe and press Enter again.
- Click “Next” in the windows that appeared.
- Select one of the Restore Points that are available before Shark Ransomware has infiltrated to your system and then click “Next”.
- To start System restore click “Yes”.
Step 2. Complete removal of Shark RansomwareAfter restoring your system, it is recommended to scan your computer with an anti-malware program, like Spyhunter and remove all malicious files related to Shark Ransomware. You can check other tools here.
Step 3. Restore Shark Ransomware affected files using Shadow Volume CopiesIf you do not use System Restore option on your operating system, there is a chance to use shadow copy snapshots. They store copies of your files that point of time when the system restore snapshot was created. Usually Shark Ransomware tries to delete all possible Shadow Volume Copies, so this methods may not work on all computers. However, it may fail to do so. Shadow Volume Copies are only available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. There are two ways to retrieve your files via Shadow Volume Copy. You can do it using native Windows Previous Versions or via Shadow Explorer. a) Native Windows Previous Versions Right-click on an encrypted file and select Properties → Previous versions tab. Now you will see all available copies of that particular file and the time when it was stored in a Shadow Volume Copy. Choose the version of the file you want to retrieve and click Copy if you want to save it to some directory of your own, or Restore if you want to replace existing, encrypted file. If you want to see the content of file first, just click Open.
b) Shadow Explorer It is a program that can be found online for free. You can download either a full or a portable version of Shadow Explorer. Open the program. On the left top corner select the drive where the file you are looking for is a stored. You will see all folders on that drive. To retrieve a whole folder, right-click on it and select “Export”. Then choose where you want it to be stored.
Step 4. Use Data Recovery programs to recover Shark Ransomware encrypted filesThere are several data recovery programs that might recover encrypted files as well. This does not work in all cases but you can try this:
- We suggest using another PC and connect the infected hard drive as slave. It is still possible to do this on infected PC though.
- Download a data recovery program.
- Install and scan for recently deleted files.